Mom and Career Elf
“Being a Mom has made me so tired. And so happy” –Tina Fey
When customers call our workshop, many of you ask me about Sage and how things are going. Some of you have even heard her chattering in the background as I answer your sizing questions. I wanted to let you know how it’s going and share a little bit of our sory so far.
When Michael and I decided to get pregnant we knew that I would need to keep my job for us to meet our financial obligations. We debated about waiting a few years until we were “financially ready,” but my clock was ticking—and ticking loudly. I was young and we had time, but I have always wanted to be a mom. My parents were a bit older when they had me. They were wonderful, but age slowed them down a bit. I knew from my childhood that I wanted to be younger when I had children of my own. Sage was born in July and it has been the best decision of our lives.
I came back to work in October when Sage was 14 weeks old. We had a great daycare selected. It was an easy choice and I am thankful every day that I have a place to leave Sage where I know she is loved and well-cared for. Sage is there about 3 days a week, then spends one day with my mom.
Sage is now 8 months old, and we have had only two bad days. The first was the very first day I dropped her off. I didn’t sleep the night before and I shed some tears as I packed up her bag.
All I could think was, “This is my baby, my child whom I want to raise and nurture.” I felt like I was giving up a beautiful part of my life, yet at the same time a small part of me was glad knowing I would have time in my day and Sage was being cared for. She had occupied my brain for so long that the thought of a break sounded blissful.
On the first day of daycare, I made my husband go with me so he could force me out, if necessary. I tried to nurse her, but she was too distracted by her new surroundings. I handed her to my daycare provider, Melissa, and she was fine—no tears. I, on the other hand, was welling up. I couldn’t help it—we had never been apart! I kissed her and we walked out. Sage just let us go. I was so grateful she didn’t cry because I wouldn’t have been able to walk away if she did. I checked on her throughout the day and she was doing great, even happy. Every day got easier and now it’s not so hard. I still feel a pang when I walk away, but I know that she loves being there with Melissa and the other kids.
The second worst day was a few weeks ago. Sage went through a biting phase while nursing. Normally it would hurt, but I could see it coming and prepare. I was talking to another mom and Sage just chomped down. In startled surprise, I flinched away and scared her. She began to cry and instinctively reached for Melissa. OUCH! That was much worse than the biting. I calmed myself by being grateful that she trusts Melissa enough to reach for her in a time of distress, but it still broke my heart.
The rest of our 5 months of daycare have been great. Sage is a social baby and enjoys the company of other kids. She plays outside almost every day, Melissa makes her home-cooked meals and teaches her sign language. Every day when I pick her up she is excited to see me and smiles when I walk in the door. I also think being in daycare has made her more open to what’s going on in the world. Both of us are happy with our daily routine; I am able to contribute and grow professionally and Sage is able to play and learn in a loving environment.
My positive experience with daycare is in large part due to the flexibility I have at the workshop. Soft Star encourages me to take long lunches so I have time to go pump or nurse her.
Sage comes to the shop with me when daycare is closed and I am allowed a lot of freedom with my schedule. Basically, they know my kid comes first and they encourage that. I wanted to take a “Live and Learn” class with Sage so I worked it out with Tricia and Larkin, Soft Star’s owners. Sage comes to work one morning a week and then we go to class. I don’t think I could be a working Mom if my job and my baby were competing. Soft Star doesn't see me as an employee with a baby—they see me as a mom who happens to be an employee.
Soft Star does make being a working Mom easier, but life is not always sunshine and rainbows. I still struggle with getting a healthy meal cooked quickly. I get home at 5 o’clock and Sage needs dinner, a bath and a little playtime before bed at 7:30. I also need time with her, otherwise I feel like I just get to watch her sleep. I think American workplaces are starting to help support working parents and families but we still have a way to go. I would love to know what has worked for other Moms and what has been hard? What does your work place do to help and what could they do better?